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Anchoring Containers Inside of No-Anchor Zones


I don’t recommend this trick for those who have friends in EVE that mine along side them with an Orca or other large freighter at their disposal – that really negates the need for this trick. But if you’re a solo miner that is out on your own, and tired of running back and forth between the belts and your local station in your ORE ship, then this trick is for you.

To make this trick effective, you’re going to need several million ISK to buy a lot of giant secure containers if you don’t already have them, an industrial large enough to haul multiple containers out to the belt at once, and a mining ship to do the dirty work; I highly recommend you go with an ORE ship with strip miners – do not waste your time with a small ship outfitted with a rinky-dink Miner I or II. If you’ve got all that – and some time and patience – read on.

And on we go

The first thing I learned about EVE was that life isn’t fair. The next thing that I learned about EVE was that I should use every possible angle or trick I could in order to get ahead. This is true in both combat and business in EVE. So when I thought up a little trick to help ease my long mining sessions, I gave myself a little pat on the back.

Now, I may not be the very first person in EVE to have made use of this trick, but it’s been one that’s proven very beneficial for me, and one that I think other solo miners might appreciate, because it could save you a lot of time shuttling back and forth between the asteroid belts and your nearby station.

And what is this trick? The astute will have picked up from the title that I’m talking about how you – Joe Miner – can anchor giant secure containers inside of the no-anchor zones, which are defined as any space within 5,000 meters of any asteroid (actually that also includes other player containers or wrecks). Normally you aren’t allowed to anchor the containers in that zone – you can deploy them, but you can’t anchor them.

But actually, that’s not entirely true. You can anchor containers in that zone. And how, pray tell, is this done? The trick isn’t finding some exploit of the rule – the trick is to anchor your containers when the asteroids aren’t there. You see, no asteroids, no restrictions.

This is going to involve you having a bit of good fortune, good timing, or both. But you’ll definitely need patience.

A typical container deployment

A typical container deployment

Typical container deployment

Before we dig into the whole part about the asteroids not being there, let’s look at the way that most containers are typically deployed in most belts. By now experienced miners have seen it a bazillion times – you warp in to zero, and between you and the asteroids are typically a litany of anchored containers left there by every other miner and their brother. In most belts you’ll see anywhere from one to a handful of containers owned by the same pilot. In most cases, the deployment patterns will be fairly chaotic, but you may see variations on that. Cleaner deployments will typically be in anĀ  arc concave to the belt. Odds are you will maybe be able to sneak in one or two containers in this space in busy belts, maybe more in quieter ones.

My belief is this pattern is typical because miners are lazy. Not all miners, but perhaps the preponderance of them. They’ll warp in to zero, then thrust out to within 14km of their target asteroid, engage the strip miners, and move on. From what I’ve seen in my neck of the woods, most miners come in for one load, warp back to the station, and then either come back to clean out the rocks they want or move on to the next belt if they finished the job. Not me – I keep working the same belt – I have had enough of running around through a system more than I need to. So that’s why I began using this next deployment pattern.

Deploying outside of the belt

Deploying containers "outside" the belt

Deploying containers "outside" the belt

The next image shows what a typical deployment pattern is for those adventurous enough to try and preposition containers outside of the belt. Doing so isn’t rocket science, but it is trickier than deploying between zero and the belt itself; this is mostly because there are fewer convenient astronomical objects that you can use to position yourself properly before deployment.

If you’re fortunate, there will be some astronomical object near your belt’s plane – like a moon, distant station or stargate – that you can align to and thrust out 5,000m or more beyond the belt and deploy. But keeping all your deployed containers in a perfectly flat plane is nigh impossible – at least from my experience so far. If you do figure out a way to deploy a perfectly flat pattern, please let me know.

But with some trial and error, you can position all your containers in a more-or-less “flattish” pattern (maybe within +/- 20 degrees of the belt’s plane).

A positive to using this deployment scheme is that most belts I’ve visited don’t have containers outside of the belt, so your chances of being able to lay your claim here should on average be pretty good. The other thing is that you can fit way more containers outside of the belt than you can inside the belt, so you can spent more time on a single run this way. If you’re really lucky, you’ll be able to deploy both inside and outside of the belt, which is even better.

Anchoring in the “no-anchor zone”

Anchoring containers in the no-anchor zone

Anchoring containers in the no-anchor zone

And finally, the payoff: deploying and anchoring containers in the “no-anchor zone” (NAZ). This isn’t a real term, it’s one I just made up, so I call dibs on it. But it should be fairly obvious what I mean by “no-anchor zone” – it’s an area around an asteroid belt that includes all space within 5,000 meters (in every direction) from every asteroid in that belt.

As I mentioned before, the only way to do this is to do it when there are no asteroids present in the area you want to deploy containers in. I’m sure you’ve warped into your favorite belt now and then and seen it completely wiped out – somebody got there before you with all their friends and vacuumed it clean so not even a pebble was left. This is the perfect time to deploy all your containers.

If you already had containers pre-positioned here between zero and the belt, or just outside the belt, you can use them as a point of reference to position your containers between them. If there are no containers at all, then you’re going to have to do some guesswork on placing them, but typically the rocks are at around 23-27km from zero, so dropping them at 25km from zero is a safe bet.

Start from one end of where the rocks normally are, and start deploying and anchoring your containers in 5,000 meter intervals. You may need to thrust around and use reference points around you to find the right spots, but with a little work you can do this. If there are any wrecks preventing you from deploying, you’ll need to either salvage them or destroy them.

When you’re done, all you need to do is wait for all the rocks to re-populate during the daily maintenance downtime, and when you log back in, you’ll find that all your containers are intact and floating around inside of the zone you normally could never put them into.

Mining It All Up…

I’ve managed to secure about 28 giant containers in a single belt using these techniques. Now, this might sound kinda’ stupid to some, but there are good reasons I’ve done it this way. For starters, most of the time I’m a solo miner, and I’m not dual-boxing. I don’t use a second character to control a hauler while my primary mines. The second is that using this technique, I can mine – by myself – in the same belt for a good 2-3 hours in a Retriever before I need to make a single warp to clean out the containers. Suddenly this sounds a lot more appealing for a single miner, doesn’t it?

Now this technique is not without its challenges. When you anchor your containers in the no-anchor zone, you have absolutely no clue where the rocks will reappear the next day. So you could very easily find yourself dodging rocks just to get your ships within 2500m of the containers. I have one container that is within just a few meters of a massive rock on most days, but I can use the container just fine. I’ve not yet had a problem of a container existing within an asteroid, but that might just be pure, dumb luck on my part. If you do run into that problem, I really have no idea what will happen to your container, but I’d suggest mining out the rock that consumes it, scoop the container back into your bay, then redeploy it a bit further out.

…and Hauling It All Away

One last tip I’d like to share is on hauling all this stuff out. It’s ideal to minimize the number of runs you need to make between all the containers. First, set up bookmarks on the exact position of every second or third container – if your hauler has a higher capacity, then you’ll be able to set your bookmarks further apart. But always start with the first container in your arc, and be sure you also bookmark the last one in your arc.

In my case, I have two containers arcs of about 14 containers each. I name my bookmarks according to the container arc and the container’s sequence number in the ring, so for my outermost container arc I call them “Outer 01”, “Outer 02”, “Outer 03” and so on – up to “Outer 14”. The arc of containers inside the no-anchor zone are named “Inner 01” through “Inner 13” or so. Yes, this adds up to a lot of bookmarks, but when you make your first haul, you’ll understand why. If you use the three-arc approach above, you might want to go with a convention like “Outer”, “Middle” and “Inner” or similar.

Start at “Outer 01”, then go by each container and empty out the ore until you fill up your hauler. Make a note of where you left off, because when you’ve emptied out your hauler at the station, you’ll want to warp directly back to the bookmark you left off at (if the container wasn’t empty), or the next bookmark in the arc if you emptied the last container you opened.

With a Mammoth fitted with Expanded Cargohold II units and Cargohold Optimization I rigs, I can empty out about 5 giant secure containers before I need to run back to the station. And be sure to put a good thrust system on your hauler – no point putting around slowly if you don’t need to.

And by the way, mining this container deployment works just like hauling from it – warp to the first bookmark, fill up the container, and move on to the next one. Keep doing this in a pattern that works for you until they’re all filled up. Just be sure to visit every container at least once a month or they’ll vanish, and be sure to set a password for each and ensure they’re anchored properly before you leave, otherwise you may come back and find some missing.

Before I wrap this up, don’t forget that you’re operating in three dimensions, not two. If you really wanted to, you could also create additional container arcs on the z-axis above and below the asteroid belt, which could come close to doubling the number of containers you could deploy with this approach.


Let me be the first to say that the first moment I have somebody that can tag along with me in an Orca on my mining ops – or when I start dual boxing and get my own Orca – I’m going to scoop up all these containers and abandon this approach. But for right now, this technique works for me, and it lets me haul in hundreds of thousands to millions of units of ores in a short period of time. Plus I don’t need to deal with the monotony of warping back to the station to empty out my mining ship 28 times to net the same result that this technique offers.

But as with any technique, your experience may vary, as may your opinion of it. That’s fine, to each their own. But hopefully this may be useful to someone who’s sick of mining and is looking for any angle to make it just a bit easier. So if you try this approach, be sure to find a good book, because you’re going to need it once you engage your strip miners.

2 comments to Anchoring Containers Inside of No-Anchor Zones

  • Thanks for this guide, I’ll apply it once I start mining again. till now I just dropped my containers randomly so |’ll go for the inner/outer pattern next time and maybe even the middle one.

    Regards, TheElitist

  • This is great advice and some that I would think would appeal more to the beginning miner in a mining cruiser. Their smaller cargo capacity coupled with their lower yields would make the cans more useful. The biggest problem I have with the giant cans is their limited size. One strip miner cycle fills them and I need more of them than I can possibly anchor inside, outside, over, under and through the belt.

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